Lou Reed - the Wild Side lives on in noise and sound
Lou Reed, 71, the lead singer of Velvet Underground, has passed on, leaving the worlds of art and music sadder but not poorer because what remains is his legacy, namely a bold attempt to fuse art and music back in the 1960s, leading to various initiatives which merged genres in numerous experimental projects, among these noise and sound.
Lou Reed, 71, the lead singer of Velvet Underground, has passed on, leaving the worlds of art and music sadder but not poorer because what remains is his legacy, namely a bold attempt to fuse art and music back in the 1960s, leading to various initiatives which merged music, art, literature, the theater and film - and which supported numerous experimental projects, among these noise and sound.
Walk on the Wild Side was perhaps the most iconic of Lou Reed's songs, the personification of a figure who was and will always be an icon in the world of the Arts with a capital letter, given his tremendous productivity in projects which included plastic arts, music, theater, cinema, literature, and walk on the wild side he did, leaving a tremendous legacy which can only reach the very top of the list in the annals of world artistic heritage.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, on March 2, 1942, vocalist and guitarist Lou Reed started working for Pickwick records as a songwriter after leaving Syracuse University in 1964. He met keyboard player John Cale at Pickwick and the two decided to form a group, The Primitives. The Warlocks followed and a year later, drummer Maureen Tucker and guitarist Sterling Morrison had joined them, now renamed Velvet Underground.
The first major gig came in 1965 and soon, Reed's friendship with artist Andy Warhol saw Velvet Underground become the main band at Warhol's Factory Studio and the focus of his Exploding Plastic Inevitable events. There followed the classics with Velvet Underground and beyond the group, Walk on the Wild Side, Rock and Roll, Sweet Jane, Satellite of Love and a huge list of artistic projects involving the various branches of the arts, projects involving, apart from Warhol, William Burroughs, Kurt Weill, John Cage.
Iconic albums The Velvet Underground and Nico, White Light/White Heat, The Velvet Underground, Loaded cemented Velvet Underground's status as one of the most important rock groups of the twentieth century and perhaps the most influential, multi-culture-wise, in the United States of America.
Lou Reed is synonymous with daring, bold initiatives, in a way iconoclastic projects forging new relationships and artistic fusions, groundbreaking experiments in a myriad of artistic expressions, yet at the same time, he lends his name to the lessons the greatest of artists teach, regarding the need to focus on simplicity to get your message across.
By 1970 Reed had left Velvet Underground and had beaten a new path for himself in the UK, in projects with Yes and with David Bowie in Transformer, there followed Berlin, Sally Can't Dance, Metal Machine Music, Take No Prisoners, The Blue Mask, Transformer, New Sensations, New York, Songs for Drella... then a reunion of VU. He continued his prolific musical production with concerts and CDs right up to 2011, in diverse experiments including The Raven, Hudson River Wind Meditations and Lulu.
Lou Reed has left his indelible mark on world cultural heritage. Listen to it from beginning to end and there, in his own words, is his Great American Novel. It is here to stay.